Program Teachers

MICHELLE MAK

LITERACY SPECIALIST

Hello Families.  I am the Literacy Specialist at Chinese Immersion School who has the great fortune of working with our wonderful students and teachers.  
 
A little bit about myself.  I was born and raised in San Francisco.  As a student, I attended St. Mary’s Chinese Day School & Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School before earning my Bachelor’s degree at  UC Davis.  I also hold a Masters in Language and Literacy from San Francisco State.
 
I have been teaching and working with English Language Learners in San Francisco Unified School District since 1999.  My passion, as a teacher, is to pass on my love of reading onto my students.  To help them discover that one special book that will begin their life long journey with books.  
 
During my spare time, I enjoy a good mystery, discovering the newest children’s books, and spending time with friends and family.  Food is another love.  I love a  great cheeseburger, bowl of ramen, slice of prime rib...

WENDY DERE

STREAM TEACHER

Greetings! I am the librarian/STEAM teacher here at CIS, and I run the STREAM program, which integrates Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math. Weekly classes include activities that allow students to tinker and make, while working collaboratively and creatively to problem-solve. This is a new role for me, and I thoroughly enjoy the time that I spend exploring and working with the students each week.

I’m a native San Franciscan and have been teaching for over 25 years. I am a true believer in language immersion education, having witnessed how beneficial such a program can be with my own children. I wish that I had the opportunity to attend a language immersion program while growing up so that my Chinese would be better!

In addition to my work, I am a busy mom of four. Much of my free time is spent with family - shopping, cooking, and eating! We enjoy walks with our corgi - all around the wonderful neighborhoods that the City has to offer.

I look forward to working with all of you and your children throughout the year.

CHRISTINE WANG

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING (SEL) TEACHER

While I am new to the CIS community, I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and worked as an educator in both public and independent schools for over twenty years ago. I was born and raised in Texas. My parents immigrated from Taiwan and arrived in Texas during the late 1960’s. Growing up during a time before people knew the benefits of learning a second language on brain development, my parents were advised by my teachers to speak to me in English only even though they spoke Mandarin to one another at home. As a result, I understand Mandarin better than I can speak it and being at CIS is helping me learn Cantonese.

My path to education and social emotional learning (SEL) is an interesting story. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Texas in Austin majoring in Learning and Development and my graduate work at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Human Development and Psychology. With an educational background in developmental psychology and a focus on adolescent resilience, I worked as a learning specialist and school administrator in the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) and as a social emotional learning (SEL) specialist at The Nueva School. In PAUSD, I was introduced to SEL at the Ohlone School, a progressive elementary school in the district where SEL was integrated into all aspects of the curriculum, culture, and community. Being a new teacher, I learned and was immersed in the best practices of developmental education, the whole child approach, and project-based learning at the elementary level before moving on to the middle and high schools as a school administrator where I worked to bring SEL practices and staff training into the secondary level. At the Nueva School, an independent K-12 school where SEL is embedded schoolwide, I taught and coordinated the SEL program for grades 5-8 at the middle school developing SEL curriculum, coaching classroom teachers, and teaching weekly SEL classes.

Working in schools and in collaboration with teachers, I enjoy the solitude of leadership as much as being part of a working team, where I can share what I am learning with the team, pursue my drive for continuing improvement, and engage in creative problem-solving sessions. During this time of crisis, I think it is important for us to be able to be honest with our fears, disappointments, and failures. Having the grit, courage, and determination to see failure as progress is what holds me accountable in life and motivates me to continue to bring my best through learning and resilience. When collaborating with grade level teams, I value each member’s contributions and work to build on the strengths and skills of each person on the team. With a growth mindset and a strength-based perspective, I coach and mentor teachers and parents with the same compassion, respect, and care that I give to the students I work with. It’s always important to appreciate others, celebrate the moment, and enjoy the journey.

When I am not in school, I enjoy food, music, and travel. I love cooking new recipes in the kitchen, exploring the local farmer’s markets, and exploring new foodie finds wherever I am. I am inspired by the poetry of music and always looking for new artists to add to my playlist. Being in nature and immersing myself in the daily life of a different country, new city, or even finding a new walking trail is an adventure for me that brings the joy, play, and wonder of new discoveries and experiences.